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Senate approves extra funding for Iron Dome

San Diego Jewish Press quotes Rechnitz's statement

NEW YORK (Press Release) - Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, on Friday, August 1, lauded the Senate leaders and the Administration for the passage of the supplemental funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system which has saved countless lives in Israel in recent weeks, including on the day of passage.

"We are deeply grateful to the Administration and Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Barbara Mikulski, and other leaders of the senate for their role in securing passage of this vital legislation. This is a most important and tangible expression of the special US-Israel relationship. The Iron Dome system has amazed the world as it brought down hundreds of Hamas missiles fired at civilian populations that could have taken a very heavy toll. The Iron Dome system was jointly developed by the United States and Israel and has revolutionized missile defense."

"We look forward to the House taking similar action and thank the leadership of that body for their support as well"

The Jewish leaders added, "We witnessed firsthand the incredible effectiveness of the Iron Dome system during our recent visit to Israel's south as well as in Tel Aviv. Iron Dome deprived Hamas of its ultimate objective, to kill as many citizens of Israel as possible. It is a major step forward in America's and Israel's common war on terrorism."

The Conference leaders also described as a "new low" comments that were issued by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay regarding the Gaza conflict. Pillay, said the conference leaders, appears to be following a "scorched earth policy" as she completes her tenure.

Commissioner Pillay puts the onus for the conflict solely on Israel and the Council instituted a commission of investigation of only one party to the conflict. She consistently equates an internationally recognized terrorist organization that fires missiles indiscriminately at civilian populations and digs tunnels under an international border to carry out barbaric terrorist attacks, with a member state of the United Nations living up to its fundamental obligation to protect its citizens and borders.

"This bias reached its apex with the reported condemnation today (Friday, August 1) of Israel and the United States by Commissioner Pillay for not providing the Iron Dome technology to the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza. She made the statement at the latest in a series of emergency meetings of the Geneva based United Nations Human Rights Council which inevitably leads to condemnations of Israel. She failed to mention that the joint US-Israel missile defense system was developed for defense against the tens of thousands of missiles in the hands of terrorist groups surrounding Israel, nor did she mention Hamas' placement of missiles in UN schools and facilities.

"While massive violations of human rights are taking place throughout the Middle East, and hundreds of thousands are dead in Syria alone, and countless religious minorities are persecuted, Commissioner Pillay focuses only on one area of interest. During her six year tenure, Israel was condemned forty seven times, while Hamas has never been subject to condemnation. Her actions and words further undermine the credibility of the United Nations Human Rights Council and make a mockery of its lofty ideals. This is a new low even for the UNHRC."

Meanwhile, Robert Rechnitz who chaired the "Iron Dome Tribute" earlier this year to celebrate strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States, also issued a statement lauding passage by Congress of another $225 million for the Iron Dome

"While this bill had overwhelming bipartisan support and was expected to pass, it did encounter some difficulties which required immense lobbying in the last 10 days." he said. "One has to wonder why this became a political issue at a time when Israel is under siege from the Iran backed Hamas. The attempt to attach the Iron Dome funding to a larger spending bill was a blatant partisan move that undermines the strong relationship between the US Congress and Israel. We are thankful to the Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, who sought to detach the requests and achieved victory. Israel's relationship with the United States and the US support of Israel is not a partisan issue. Any attempt to make it an issue ignores the common democratic interests of these two countries.

"According to the IDF, the Iron Dome advanced anti-missile system has successfully destroyed 90 percent of its targets since the onset of the assault by Hamas three weeks ago. Countless lives are being saved by the Iron Dome. Each time it is deployed, the danger to life is quite literally blown out of the sky. The project to develop the Iron Dome has been a close collaboration between Israel and the United States - Two countries for which there is no higher value than the sanctity of life. The initiative came to fruition after our friends in the US Congress, led by the late Senator Daniel Inouye fought with great commitment for its implementation.

"Years of energetic lobbying efforts went into the eventual funding of the Iron Dome. Bringing the project to completion has required a committed bipartisan effort which continues to this day. Republicans and Democrats alike continue to show that when it comes to the security of the State of Israel, the United States stands as one..."

* Preceding provided by Robert Rechnitz (via the Friedlander Group) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.